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MAY 2016



Self Help

It is easy to focus on the

union aspects of AFSA

because we face numerous

pressing issues.

However, it’s important

not to forget the professional

association aspects that

AFSA also represents, for it is

our professionalism and drive

for self-improvement that

truly define our members

as the leaders of the foreign

affairs community.

Fortunately, I am pleased

to report on the resurgence

of interest in and support

for changes that will boost

professionalism in FAS.

First, I am happy to report

that we have established

a collaborative effort with

management to update the

FAS performance manage-

ment criteria and to eventu-

ally negotiate their inclusion

into the FAS AFSA collective

bargaining agreement.

Surprisingly, one of the

biggest problems has been

that FAS’s performance

management criteria are

outdated. This means

that officers lack objective

information about the skills

and competencies expected

of them at every level and,

therefore, what is needed for


The document now under

discussion borrows liberally

from State’s performance

management criteria and

incorporates FAS-specific

knowledge and skill areas. I

want to specifically acknowl-

edge the work done several

years ago by previous FAS

AFSA working groups to

develop these criteria.

Considering the posi-

tive and cooperative work

between AFSA and manage-

ment, I hope to be able to

report on the final success of

this initiative later in the year.

Updated performance

management criteria will go

Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FAS VP.


or (202) 720-2502




a long way in providing the

guidance we need to collec-

tively articulate what success

looks like in FAS.

Secondly, I want to

acknowledge management’s

positive response to AFSA’s

call to arms on strengthen-

ing FAS’s esprit de corps.

As a result, we are working

on new initiatives designed

to improve mentorship and

to mandate more rigorous

leadership requirements.

All of these reforms to

FAS’s professional culture

will further strengthen our

ability to field the best team

to provide the services that

our constituents need and



AFSAHonors 2015 Sinclaire Language Awards Recipients

Foreign language proficiency

is a vital skill in the work of the

Foreign Service—for profes-

sional development, as well as

personal security and success

at post.

Each year, the American

Foreign Service Associa-

tion recognizes outstanding

accomplishment in the study

and utilization of difficult lan-

guages and their associated

cultures through the Matilda

W. Sinclaire Language

Awards program.

AFSA established this

program in 1982, thanks to

a generous bequest from

former Foreign Service

Officer MatildaW. Sinclaire,

who sought “to promote and

reward superior achievement

by career officers of the For-

eign Service…while studying

one of the Category III or IV

languages under the aus-

pices of the Foreign Service


Since the program’s incep-

tion, more than $260,000

has been awarded to those

Foreign Service members

who have been recognized for

their superior language skills.

Any career or career-con-

ditional member of the For-

eign Service from the Depart-

ment of State, U.S. Agency for

International Development,

Foreign Commercial Service,

Foreign Agricultural Service,

Broadcasting Board of Gov-

ernors or Animal and Plant

Health Inspection Service is

eligible for the award.

Candidates may be nom-

inated by language-training

supervisors at the FSI School

of Language Studies, lan-

guage instructors at field

schools or post language


Recipients are selected

by a committee comprising

the dean of the FSI School of

Language studies (or his or

her designee) and representa-

tives of the AFSA Governing

Board and the AFSAAwards

and Plaques Committee. Each

winner receives $1,000 and a

certificate of recognition.

This year, the pool of nomi-

nees was particularly diverse,

with a majority of recommen-

dations coming from overseas

posts for the first time in the

program’s history.

We are pleased to

announce the 2015 Sinclaire

Award recipients, all of whom

are AFSAmembers:

Naomi Anisman,


Laura Burns,


Michael Coker,


Patrick Connell,

Turkish and


Hannah Eagleton,



Neil Gibson,


Torrey Goad,



Joely E. Hildebrand,



Will Stevens,


Keren Yohannes,


For more information

on the Sinclaire Awards,

please contact AFSA Awards

Coordinator Perri Green at

or (202)

719-9700 or visit www.afsa. org/sinclaire. n

—Marcy O’Halloran,

Awards Intern